On Thursday morning, we were up before the sun to catch an early morning ferry from Fogo Island back over to “mainland” Newfoundland. Even though getting in line for the ferry at 5:15AM wasn’t the most fun thing we did all week, it did give us the chance to see this gorgeous sunrise:
After a 45 minute ride on that ferry, we drove 5 hours to the southern side of Newfoundland to catch the overnight ferry back to Nova Scotia. For some reason, I woke up early on Friday morning, and decided to head to the outside deck for some fresh air. This is what greeted me:
The four of us (my, my sister, brother-in-law, and mom) once again shared a lovely stateroom. As we were settling in, we got to chuckling about this classic scene from the Marx Brother’s movie “A Night at the Opera:” (email readers, go here to see the video)
Of course it wasn’t like that; everything about the ferry was great; the room, the service, the friendly staff, and the delicious food.
We are on the marathon drive home now (4 days — 500 miles each day), and already missing Newfoundland.
As we discovered on our visit to Newfoundland last year, there are quite a few Pittmans on the island. On this trip, we learned that a popular Newfoundland drinking song is about a certain Bob Pittman who seems to have a girlfriend in every outport in Placentia Bay. The title of the song is The Ryans and the Pittmans, although we’re not sure why since there is no mention of a Ryan anywhere in the song.
Maybe that’s why it is also know by the title We’ll Rant and We’ll Roar (the first line of the chorus. In this version, sung by Great Big Sea, the first verse where the singer identifies himself as Bob Pittman is curiously omitted (maybe because it is a bit “salty”). (email readers, go here to see the video)
If you’re curious, you can read all the lyrics here.
Truth be told, if there were really a drinking song about this Pittman, it would have to feature Pepsi!
We are using a large, old-fashioned fold-out map to make our way from place to place here in Newfoundland (I’m anti-GPS). Long hours in the car means plenty of time to study the map. One fun thing up here is noticing the unique and quirky place names.
Here are some of the more interesting ones we’ve spotted:
On Wednesday night we took the overnight ferry from North Sydney, Nova Scotia to Argentia, Newfoundland aboard the Marine Atlantic ferry Atlantic Vision. The night crossing took us approximately 16 hours.
This was Big Red’s 8th trip on a ferry. Not bad for a car that lives in Minnesota!
Truth be told, the vessel is more like a small cruise ship rather than a ferry. We even had our own “state room” with four bunks and a private shower/toilet. It certainly was better than the last overnight ferry I took in China 4 years ago. You can read about that adventure here.
Early morning brought us our first sight of Newfoundland coast.
We could have driven straight to the capital city of St. John’s, but we opted to take the scenic route around the Avalon Peninsula. In other words, upon driving 2000 miles to get to Newfoundland, what is the first thing we do when we get here? Go for a drive.
Yes, we are nuts!
We are now in St. John’s for a couple of days, staying at a lovely AirBnb. Here’s the view from our apartment:
Canadians seem to love their chips. On our drive across the eastern half of the country the past few days, we’ve spotted numerous roadside eateries bearing the name “Chip Shack,” or “Chip Shop,” or some variation thereof.
Since Canada still has Queen Elizabeth as their Head of State, they are employing the British meaning of the word “chips” — what we Yanks would call French Fries. Mind you, as a french-fry lover myself, I really don’t care what they are called.
In American English, however, “chip” is something different — it’s flat and crunchy.
In preparation for our road trip, we stocked upon things to eat. My sister offered to purchase a multi-pack box of chips from Costco. Not being a member of Costco, I assumed a multi-pack box would have a dozen or so bags of chips. Not so. When my sister and her husband showed up to load the car on Friday morning, she had a giant box of 100 chips in tow!
No, we did not bring all 100 bags of chips; we put a bunch of them into our snack bag. On Day 5, however, I can say that we have officially reached the “sick of chips” point.
If you are in Nova Scotia, and see a Red SUV with Minnesota plates on the side of the road with a “chips for sale” sign posted nearby, that will be us.
Today is Pakistan Day, the anniversary of the founding of Pakistan on August 14, 1947. It hasn’t been an easy journey for the Muslim country that was carved out on the western and easter edges of the British India. In addition to the slaughter that occurred at “Partition,” as Hindus and Muslims raced to get on the right side of the border (India or Pakistan), there were 2 subsequent wars with India (1965 and 1971). Its recent history has been marred by increasing violence.
But as those of us who grew up there know, Pakistan is more than what we read about in the news. It has a rich history and culture, gorgeous and friendly people, and some of the best food in the world.
I spent my growing-up years in the coastal city of Karachi. In honor of Pakistan Day, here’s a video of what the city looks like today: (email readers, click here to see the video).
My, but it has changed! There were only a few spots that I recognized.
If you’re interested in reading more about creation of India and Pakistan, I highly recommend the book Freedom at Midnight, by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre.